Volunteer worker in Egypt faces jail

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A Norwegian man is among 44 persons working for volunteer organizations in Egypt who face lengthy prison sentences because the organizations allegedly broke Egypt’s rules regarding their operations. Norwegian authorities are following his case with concern.

“We think it’s worrisome that well-established, volunteer organizations aren’t given the opportunity to cooperate with Egyptian civilian society and Egyptian authorities,” Marte Lerberg Kopstad of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry told newspaper Aftenposten. “We hope the case is solved soon.”

Egypt’s rules for volunteer organization are a holdover from the regime of Hosni Mubarak, and allegedly aimed to hinder regime critics. All must apply for licenses.

The Norwegian, in his 30s, was on leave from his job in Norway to work for a foreign organization in Egypt. He is not under arrest but has been prevented from leaving Egypt. He reportedly wants to keep a low profile so the foreign ministry isn’t identifying him.

“He’s staying in a place we believe is safe,” Kopstad told Aftenposten.

Views and News staff